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My friend is buying a boat, previous owner owes slip fees so...

4963 Views 56 Replies 18 Participants Last post by  bwaherne
My question is, if my friend buys the boat, is it now his responsibility to pay those slip fees that the previous owner owes? Or is that between the previous owner and the marina?
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Here is your free legal advice for the day: 1) look at the contract, and 2) if that does not clarify, ask a local lawyer.

We can speculate about who is the bad guy here. There are many reasons for a person defaulting. I knew a person whose kid was dying and he let everything go. I didn't mind helping him stiff a few creditors. Bank of America didn't have a sick kid; they'll be fine. He didn't need to worry about paying a credit card when he was wondering how he was going to bury his kid. Point is, since we don't know who did what, we can't really speculate. Could be the marina did something wrong. Could be the PO is a dick.

Just look at the contract and maybe call a lawyer. You may even find some halfway decent information for free if you google. Lots of lawyers have blogs about this kind of thing. Just make sure the law blog you are reading is in the relevant state.

And don't read Bob Loblaw's Law Blog.
The lien attaches because a state statute says a lien exists. An example of the latter is a mechanic's or materialman's lien. State law says that, whenever a person repairs the property of another, or provides materials to be used for it's repair, a lien attaches until the mechanic or materialman is paid for his parts and service. A search of public records will disclose the former types of liens. Mechanic's and materialmen's liens cannot generally be found by searching public records. A buyer needs to protect himself from unrecorded liens by his contract with the seller.
I don't know what state you are in, but that is not the case in my state and, without trying to be a dick, what you are saying doesn't make sense. The entire point of a lien is not only to secure a debt, but to put the public on notice. In NC you don't have a perfected mechanic's or materialman's lien until you file it and you'd better file it on time. And then you'd better sue on it on time.

Here'sa little primer from the NC Bar. Check with an attorney in your state so you know what happens in your jurisdiction:

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I believe that the Marina's rights fall under Federal " Maritime" law and not state law. (Here in the U.S. at least) Not sure if it only applies to Navigable waters.

Below is an excerpt from my Marina Contract:

These guys have been around for 75 years and I have no doubt that they hired a Maritime Lawyer to draft this contract.

." Service work is performed on a "cash when completed" basis. Charges accruing against the tenant and/or vessel shall constitute a Maritime lien upon the vessel and the Marina may retain possession of the vessel until such charges are fully paid. Tenant agrees and understands that the services performed hereunder arising out of the furnishing of the necessaries, including dry-docking, repairs, supplies, wharfage, and/or storage are governed by the Admiralty and Maritime jurisdiction of the U.S Federal Courts and create a Maritime lien against the vessel or its posted security. The Marinas' Maritime lien shall be preserved until all outstanding charges are paid. The Marina agrees in lieu of arrest or attachment to accept from vessels Underwriters, a Letter of Undertaking for an amount equal to 1 1/2 (1.5) times the present charges with a copy of the insurance policy and coverage information. If the vessel is uninsured, or it Underwriters cannot provide a Letter of Undertaking, the Marina may demand a posting of a surety bond with its designated escrow agent in an amount equal to 1 1/2 (1.5) times the Marina's bill. The tenant hereby agrees and understand that in the event that the marina takes legal action against the tenant/vessel to enforce any obligation owed hereunder for payment of any sums due and payable by the tenant to the marina for furnishings of necessaries, including dry-docking, repairs, supplies, wharfage and/or storage to the vessel; Tenant shall be responsible for an agrees to pay all costs of suit incurred including reasonable attorney's fees; and said costs and attorney's fees shall also constitute an additional lien on the vessel. The Marina may satisfy collection of fees or charges incurred in collection or payment due hereunder or to enforce any other obligations owed hereunder by the tenant; including reasonable attorney's fees by recourse to any security
What you have in that document grants consent to certain jurisdiction and application of certain laws.
In some states, a title search is done and you hope it was thorough (NC I believe follows this process).

Fred W
Stuart Mariner #4133 Sweet P
Yeopim Creek, NC
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